INFO ON SPECIFIC BIRD (NON-PARROT) SPECIES
These slim birds have long tails and a predominantly black plumage. The long pointed bill is pale greenish, yellowish or bluish – depending on species. Most adult caciques have blue eyes. Females are usually smaller than the males.
Caica Parrots or Hooded Parrots
Caica Parrots average 9.2 inches (23 cm) in length (including tail). The plumage is generally green, with the exception of the brownish-black head, a broad orange brown ring around their neck, and blue and black on their wings.
The lower breast, abdomen and under tail-coverts are yellowish-green. Each feather edged brownish. The throat and the upper breast are dull olive-brown. The bend of the wing has a pale blue tinge. The primary wing feathers are dark blue with green edging to the outer webs. The flight feathers are black with green outer webs. The underside of the flight-feathers are bluish-green. The middle tail-feathers have blue tips. The outer tail-feathers have yellow marking to the inner webs. The bill is a whitish-horn color. The irides (= plural of iris) of the adults are orange-red; and the cere and feet are grey.
Immature birds have a greenish head. The cheeks and ear-coverts have an olive-green tinge. The band to the nape (back of the neck) is dull yellowish and without any brown edging. The throat and breast are green with an olive-yellow tinge. Their irides (= plural of iris) are dark.
Cape Parrots aka Tori Parrots aka Brown-necked Parrots
The Cape Parrot is the largest parrot of the genus Poicephalus. It is a short-tailed medium-sized bird averaging 33 cm or 13 ins in length.
It has an oversized horn-colored beak that is 31-37 mm or 1.22-1.46 ins long. It is used to crack all sorts of hard nuts, especially those of yellow pine and various palms.
The plumage is generally green. The head is greenish-brown to yellowish-brown flecked dark brown and dull green. In some birds, the cheeks are tinged lightly with dull pink. Occasional they have a narrow reddish frontal band.
The rump, breast and abdomen are tinged with blue. The feathers to the back and wing-coverts are black with broad green edging. The edge of the wing and thighs are orange-red. The tail is blackish-brown.
They have grey periophthalmic eye rings and dark brown irises. The feet are dark grey.
The species is sexually dimorphic, with females sporting the bright orange frontal patch on the forehead.
Immatures lack the orange-red markings to the thighs and edge of wing. They often have a reddish tinge to the forehead; and the; head and nape (back of the neck) are brownish-olive.
Caracaras are birds of prey occur in South and Central America, just reaching the southern United States, extending as far north as the states of Arizona, Texas, and Florida in the United States. The most southern species (the Striated Caracara) inhabits the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego, just off the coast of the southernmost tip of South America.
The Cardinals are seed-eating birds with strong bills.
This species was named by colonists for the red plumage of the male Northern Cardinal, which is regarded as the best example of the generic characters of the genus; and the fact that the color is reminiscent of the Catholic cardinal’s vestments.
Males and females have distinct plumages, with the males having more red markings and the females being mostly brownish in color.
Juveniles look like females. Young males will grow in bright red feathers as he matures.
This species ranges in size from 4.7 inches to 9.8 inches depending on the family.
Cassowaries feed mainly on fruits, though all species are truly omnivorous and will take a range of other plant food including shoots, grass seeds and fungi in addition to invertebrates (= animals without internal skeleton, such as insects, larvae, earthworms, millipedes, snails, spiders) and small vertebrates.
Cassowaries are very shy, but when disturbed, they are capable of inflicting fatal injuries to dogs and children.
The name “Catbird” is applied to either unrelated or distantly related songbird families that have in common a voice that resembles a cat’s meowing.
The plumages of catbirds vary from grey, blue-grey, greyish-brown to nearly blackish, possibly with dark / black markings.
Cebu Hanging Parrots
The Cebu Hanging Parrots average 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length.
They look like the nominate species, but the back of the crown and the head, as well as the upper back are gold-yellow.
Female look like males, but lack the red throat and breast patch. The nape and upper back are green tinged and only lightly gold-yellow. The lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) and cheeks are tinged are pale blue.
Golden Mantle Rosellas average 12 inches (30 cm) in length.
In the normal form of the Golden Mantle red covers the nape of the neck and extends to the upper breast. The cheek patches are white. Black feathers edged with golden yellow cover the back producing a pearling effect while the wing converts and tail are a bright blue. A green suffusion can be seen on the rump, abdomen and tail.
Hens are often slightly duller in color. In mature Golden Mantle hens of the normal form you can see a white striping under the wing feathers but this is not so when dealing with all the Golden Mantle mutations.
Sexing young birds can prove difficult and DNA sexing may be the only way to know for sure at a young age. However, it may be possible to sex birds that are at least 9 months as the molt into adult plumage. .However birds at least 9 months old can be visualy sexed.
Young birds attain the adult coloration after their second molt – when they are about 12 to 16 months old. At that time they also become sexually mature.
Celebes Hanging Parrots
The Sulawesi Hanging Parrots average 6 inches (15 cm) in length – from head to tip of the tail.
The plumage of the Sulawesi Hanging Parrot is mainly green. The wings are green, except the underside of the flight-feathers, which are greenish-blue.
The forehead and crown are red; there is a red patch to the throat and on the upper breast, and the edge of the wing, lower back and upper tail-coverts are also red. The breast, abdomen and under tail-coverts are yellowish-green and there is an orange-yellow tinge on the back.
The upperside of the tail is green with pale tips, and the underside is greenish-blue. There are red upper tail-coverts.
The bill is black, the irides (= plural of iris) are yellowish-white; and the feet are orange.
Hens look like males, except they lack the red markings to the head. Their throat patches are reduced in many females and their irides (= plural of iris) are brown.
Young birds look similar to the females, except the breast patch is interspersed with yellow and the edge of their wings are greenish-yellow. They have horn-colored bills and dark-brown irides (= plural of iris). Their feet are yellowish brown.
Ceylon Hanging Parrots
The Ceylon Hanging Parrots (Loriculus beryllinus) are now more commonly referred to as “Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot” after the island they occur on – the Island of Ceylon – was renamed “Sri Lanka” in 1972.
Sri Lanka is situated in the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar, the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the Maldives.
Chachalacas are found in wooded habitats in far southern United States (Texas), Mexico, and Central and South America.
They are social, can be very noisy and often remain fairly common even near humans, as their relatively small size makes them less desirable to hunters than their larger relatives.
The tits, chickadees and titmice (family Paridae) are small birds that are found in the northern hemisphere and Africa.
These birds are mostly small stocky birds with short, stout bills that inhabit woodlands.
These adaptable birds feed on seeds and insects; and may take advantage of bird feeders..
These are hole-nesting birds laying speckled white eggs.
Backyard and exhibition poultry flocks are at a distinct health advantage because they run free. Free-range poultry are able to select exactly what they need from the yard in terms of trace elements and vitamin-rich green food.
They also get copious amounts of direct sunshine, the greatest health tonic of all. On the down-side, however, free-range poultry flocks are exposed to many germs that abound in wet areas after rain. These wet areas are hazardous to health. Wet weather and disease prevention programmes should be incorporated into a regular health programme. The programmes described on this page follow organic farming principles and use natural methods to control disease and, with the addition of a vaccination programme, produce a naturally disease-resistant flock.
Additional vaccination programmes may be necessary for chickens, whilst gamefowl and waterfowl require special programmes to prevent those diseases (Blackhead, Hexamita, Giardia and Cochlosoma) transmitted by motile protozoal parasites.
The Chuck-Will’s-Widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis) is the largest Nightjar in North America. It has been named after its loud continuous, whistled “chuck-will’s-widow” song that is often heard at night. To a lesser extent it is also sometimes referred to as chuckwuts-widow – a name that is also derived from the rhythm of this bird’s calls.
It belongs to a family known as Caprimulgriformes – which literally means “goatsuckers,” as they were once believed to drink a nanny goat’s milk during the night.
They are mostly found in southeastern United States. These birds are extremely shy and will generally flush upon approach (except when nesting).
Chuck-will’s-widows are nocturnal (active at night) and are often observed flying low over the ground as they catch insects at night.
Cisticolas (pronounced sis-TIC-olas) are a genus of very small insectivorous birds formerly classified in the Old World warbler family Sylviidae, but now usually considered to be in the separate family Cisticolidae, along with other southern warbler genera. They are believed to be quite closely related to the swallows and martins, the bulbuls and the white-eyes. The genus contains about 45 species, of which only two are not found in Africa: one in Madagascar and the other from Asia to Australasia.
Their generic name, Cisticola, means inhabitant (-cola) of a woven basket (cista-), referring to the finely woven nest of the Zitting Cisticola, the most widespread species. They are also sometimes called fantail-warblers due to their habit of conspicuously flicking their tails, or tailor-birds because of their nests.
The Cloncurry Parrot is the smallest of the Australian Ringnecks, averaging 13 ins (33 cm) in length and 4.3 to 4.8 ounces (120 – 135 g) in weight.
This parrot looks similar to the Mallee Ringneck Parrots, but is generally paler green also extending to back and lower back. Cheeks and lower ear-coverts bright pale blue; broad pale-yellow band to abdomen; lesser wing-coverts green; forehead pale yellow-green; and, as previously mentioned, is smaller.
Several striking mutations have been bred in aviculture. Please refer to below photos.
They average 7 inches (18 cm) in length and weigh between 1.75 to 2.3 oz (50 – 65 grams).
They are virtually all green with yellow forehead and reddish-orange chin. The yellow forehead and lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) are somewhat duller and less far-reaching in hens. The primary coverts and secondary feathers are purple/blues. The purple/blue outer primary feathers are edged with green and the remainder is purple/blue. The central tail feathers are dark blue with green margins. The next two feathers are green edged with blue, the remainder green.
The bill is pale horn colored, tipped with brown. The bare eye rings are white. The eyes are dark brown.
Young birds look like adults, except they have a brown bill.
- Gustave’s Parakeets (B.c. gustavi): Average 7 to 7.6 ins (18 to 19 cm) in size. The carpal edge (= leading edge of the wing at the “shoulder”) and the bend of the wing are yellow in both males and females. They have green outer primary feathers.
- Beni Cobalt-winged or Blue-winged Parakeets (B.c. beniensis): Average 7 inches (18 cm) in size. Both male and female look like the Gustave’s Parakeet – except the plumage is paler, with more yellow/green. There is a heavy tint of yellow on the forehead and lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) and a strong tint of blue on the crown. The bend of wing, carpal edge (= leading edge of the wing at the “shoulder”) and primary coverts are also yellow.
These small parrots occur naturally in the outback regions of central Australia, where they are inhabit the Australian wetlands, scrublands, and bush lands.
However, there is a great demand in the pet market for these sociable and generally gentle parrots, and they have been introduced to many parts of the world. Some feel that they are more popular than his smaller cousin – the Budgerigar.
Since cockatiels are easy to keep and readily breed, sufficient numbers of them are available for the pet market. Today, all pet tiels are bred in captivity, as Australia no longer permits the export of native wildlife, whether endangered or not.
They average 12.8 inches or 32 cm in length (including tail). Healthy adults usually weigh between 2.8 – 4.4 oz (78 and 125 grams) – the average being 2 oz or 90 grams. Some mutations, particularly some lutinos, tend to be rather small-boned birds. They may weigh between 2.8 – 3.2 oz (78 and 90 grams). Some selectively bred for competitions may way between 3.9 – 4.4 oz (110 and 125 grams).
Like some other cockatoos, as for example the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, the cockatiel has an erectible crest. Tiels and cockatoos in general also share other features, such as the facial feathers covering the sides of the beak, which are rarely – if ever – found outside the Cacatuidae family.
In contrast to most cockatoos, the cockatiel has long tail feathers, roughly making up half of its total length. Its distinctive pointed yellow crest is held erect when startled or excited, while a crest slightly tilted indicates a relaxed state of mind.
Native to Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, there are over 40 species. These can be divided into two main groups – the white cockatoos and the black cockatoos. The species available as pets range from the well-known Sulphur Crested , the Galah, the Major Mitchell, the Red tail Black Cockatoo, to the lesser known White (Umbrella) Cockatoo. Outside of Australia, the Moluccan and Umbrella also make a lovely pets but are rarely kept as pets in Australia due to their expense.
Condor refers to the largest species of New World vultures; and the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere.
These impressive birds of prey weigh up to 33 pounds (11.8 kg); stand up to 4.3 feet (1.3 meters) tall, and have a wingspan of up to 11.5 feet (3.5 meters).
They inhabit large territories and may travel 150 miles (250 km) a day in search of prey.
The greatest species variety is in South America. They are common in Europe and North America.
The American Coots have reached Great Britain and Ireland on rare occasions. The migratory species travel at night.
The Phalacrocoracidae family of birds is represented by 38 species of cormorants and shags. Several different classifications of the family have been proposed recently, but in the one most commonly used, all but three species are placed in a single genus Phalacrocorax, the exceptions being the Galapagos’ Flightless Cormorant, the Kerguelen Shag and the Imperial Shag.
Its breeding habitat is not marshes as with most crakes, but, as the name implies, meadows and arable farmland.
It breeds across Europe and western Asia, migrating to Africa in winter. It is in steep decline across most of its range because modern farming practices mean that nests and birds are destroyed by mowing or harvesting before breeding is finished.
The best place to look for or listen for them in the UK is in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. In Ireland, the best place to hear the birds is the island of Inishbofin, Galway, off the coast of County Galway.
In 2008 a decline of about 8% in the number of “calling males” was noticed.
Cotingas have broad bills with hooked tips, rounded wings, and strong legs.
The males of many species are brightly colored, or decorated with plumes or wattles, with their umbrella-like crest and long throat wattles. Some have distinctive and far-carrying calls.
The females of most species are duller than the males.
A coucal is one of about 30 species of birds in the cuckoo family. All of them belong in the subfamily Centropodinae and the genus Centropus.
Unlike many Old World cuckoos, coucals are not brood parasites. On the other hand they do have their own reproductive peculiarity: all members of the genus are to varying degrees sex-role reversed so that the smaller male provides most of the parental care. At least one coucal species, the Black Coucal, is polyandrous.
Some species (Centropus phasianinus) have the male investing more in incubation and parental care.
Recent DNA evidence suggests that they should be raised to family status, as Centropodidae.
Cowbirds are found in the Americas. It is a brood parasitic species, as they place their eggs into the nest of other birds (= host nests).
The only non-brood parasitic species is the em>Agelaioides [formerly Molothrus] badius.
The family Rallidae includes rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. In Europe / Africa / Asia (the “Old World”), the long billed species are often referred to as “rails” and the short-billed species as “crakes”. However, in North America, they are typically all called “rails” irrespective of the length of their bill. Some other large species are called gallinules and swamphens.
Cranes (Gruidae) occur on all continents except Antarctica and South America. Some species are long-distance migrants, while those found in warmer climates are mostly sedentary (non-migratory).
These gregarious birds typically form large flocks in places where many of them are found.
Cranes (Gruidae) occur on all continents except Antarctica and South America. Some species are long-distance migrants, while those found in warmer climates are mostly sedentary (non-migratory).
These gregarious birds typically form large flocks in places where many of them are found.
However, their numbers are declining and some species are at risk of extinction, such as the North American Whooping Cranes.
Craveri’s Murrelet (Synthliboramphus craveri) is a small seabird which breeds on offshore islands in both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California off the Baja peninsula of Mexico. It also wanders fairly regularly as far as central California in the USA, primarily during post-breeding dispersal.
It is threatened by predators introduced to its breeding colonies by oil spills, and tanker traffic. Increasing tourism development and commercial fishing fleets also further threaten the species. With an estimated population of 6,000-10,000 breeding pairs, its population is listed as vulnerable.
These small woodland birds are brown above and white below.
They have long, thin, pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees.
They were named for the fact that they are frequently observed “creeping” up tree trunks.
The typical treecreepers look very much alike and species identification can be challenging in areas where two species occur together.
Crimson aka Kandavu Red Shining Parrots
Crimson Shining Parrots is a medium-sized parrot that is similar in size to Fiji’s other two endemic Shining Parrots – the Masked Shining Parrots (Prosopeia personata) and the very similar allopatric (geographically separated) Red Shining-parrot (Prosopeia tabuensis) – measuring 42 to 45 cm (~16.5 ins) from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail, with a wing length of 215 – 245 mm or 8.5 – 9.6 ins. During flight, it has a long-winged appearance, flying with undulating bouts of flaps and gliding.
The Crimson Shining Parrot or Kadavu (splendens) is the most distinctive of Fiji’s colorful Shining Parrots. This parrot has a bright red and green plumage and a long tail. The head, neck, breast and belly are crimson-red. A broad blue collar extends across the back of the neck. The back, rump and tail are a bright green. The flight feathers and tail are green, strongly suffused with blue. The bill and feet are black, and the irises are orange.
Males and females are similar, however, the bill of males is larger and the head is more square-shaped than that of the hens.
The Crimson Rosella averages 26 – 36 cm (10.4 – 14 ins) in length (including tail). The wings are typically 164 – 188 mm (6.5 – 7.5 ins) long. The average weight is about 145 grams (~5.2 oz).
Adult male: The plumage is generally red. The cheeks are violet-blue. The nape, back and parts of secondaries (shorter, upper “arm” feathers) are black with a broad red edging. The inner median wing-coverts are black. The bend of the wing, outer median wing-coverts and secondary coverts are blue. The secondary flight feathers (shorter, upper “arm” feathers), outer webs of base of primaries (longest wing feathers) and under wing-coverts (feathers) are blue. The upperside of the middle tail feathers are dark blue with a black base. The outer tail feathers are dark blue with a lighter edging and pale tips. The tail underside is pale bluish. The bill is horn-grey and they have narrow grey eye rigns. The irises are dark brown and the feet are grey.
Crows measure from 8 to 28 inches and are the largest of the passerines (perching birds).
Corvus species are all black or black with some white or grey plumage. Some species have head crests.
Their wings are long and pointed, and their tails are much shorter than their wings.
They are stout with strong bills and legs.
The sexes differ little in appearance.
They form tight, social colonies, calling to each during emergencies and at flock roosting times at night.
Bold, inquisitive, gregarious and highly adaptable, crows are easily seen and heard, with voices that are loud and harsh.
The cuckoos were named for the familiar calls of the Common Cuckoo, which are often used in cuckoo clocks.
The majority of species occur in the tropics. Those found in temperate species are migratory, moving south for the winter.
Most species live in forests, although some prefer more open habitats.
Curlew is the common name for the bird genus Numenius, a group of eight wader species, characterised by a long slender downcurved bill and mainly brown plumage with little seasonal change.
In Europe, “Curlew” usually refers to one species, the Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata.
The stone-curlews are not true curlews (family Scolopacidae) but members of the family Burhinidae, which is in the same order Charadriiformes, but only distantly related within that.
Currawongs are medium-sized perching birds that are native to Australasia. They were formerly also known as Crow-shrikes.
Anhingidae are large birds with sexually dimorphic plumage. They measure about 80 to 100 cm (2.6 to 3.3 ft) in length, with a wingspan around 120 cm (3.9 ft), and weigh some 1,050 to 1,350 grams (37 to 48 oz).
The males have black and dark brown plumage, a short erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female.
The females have a much paler plumage, especially on the neck and underparts, and are a bit larger overall.
Both have grey stippling on long “shoulder feathers” (scapulars) and upper wing coverts (feathers). The sharply pointed bill has serrated edges, a desmognathous palate and no external nostrils. The darters have completely webbed feet, and their legs are short and set far back on the body.
There is no eclipse plumage, but the bare parts vary in color around the year. During breeding, however, their small gular sac changes from pink or yellow to black, and the bare facial skin, otherwise yellow or yellow-green, turns turquoise. The iris changes in color between yellow, red or brown seasonally.
The young hatch naked, but soon grow white or tan down.
Derbyan Parakeets aka Derbyan Parrots
The Derbyan Parakeet is larger than most parakeets. Adult Derbyans average 20 inches (50 centimeters). It is said to be similar in size to the popular Alexandrine Parakeet. These birds are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females may be distinguished visually.
The plumage is green with black lower cheeks and lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head). Parts of their thighs and wing covets are a mauve to slightly grey-blue and they have striking violet blue heads. Males have a red upper beak, while the females have an entirely black beak. They have pale yellow eyes and grey feet.
The female may also be distinguished from the male by the presence of a brown band behind the ear-coverts. Her abdomen plumage is, slightly paler and she has a black upper beak.
Immature Derbyan Parakeets are easily distinguished from adults because they have green crowns and napes, upper and lower beak in both males and females are pink. Additionally, their irises are dark, and do not get light until they reach maturity. Young males have a slightly paler abdomen plumage. Adult plumage is attained by two years.
Dippers are small, stout, short-tailed, short-winged, strong-legged birds.
The different species are generally dark brown (sometimes nearly black), or brown and white in colour, apart from the Rufous-throated Dipper which is brown with a reddish-brown throat patch.
Sizes range from 14-22 cm in length and 40-90 g in weight, with males larger than females. Their short wings give them a distinctive whirring flight. They have a characteristic bobbing motion when perched beside the water, giving them their name.
They are highly uniform in appearance, and very difficult to separate when seen at sea. They are best separated by the size and shape of their short bills. The plumage is shining black on the top and white on the underside. Their wings are short, particularly with regards to overall body size, and used in a highly characteristic whirring flight. This flight is low over the water and diving petrels will fly through the crests of waves without any interruption of their flight path. In the water these wings are half folded and used as paddles to propel the bird after its prey.
Adult birds are black on the head, neck, back and wings, with white underparts. The bill is very short and stubby. They have a small rounded black tail. The lower face and fore neck become white in winter.
The flight is direct, with fast whirring wing beats due to the short wings. These birds forage for food like other auks by swimming underwater. They mainly eat crustaceans, especially copepods, but also other small invertebrates along with small fish. They collect in large swarms before leaving their breeding rocks to head out to sea for food as well as when they return.
Fruit Pigeon / Fruit Doves (Ptilinopus): Mariana Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla), Jambu Fruit Doves (Ptilinopus jambu), Pink-headed Fruit Dove, Pink-necked Fruit Dove, Temminck’s Fruit Pigeon, Superb Fruit Dove, Temminck’s Fruit Dove, Pink-headed or necked Fruit Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove
Ducks / Mallars
Duck are mostly aquatic birds, with a nearly global distribution, with the exception of Antarctica, although some species have learned to survive on sub-Antarctic islands. Depending on the species, they occur in both fresh water and sea water.
A group of ducks is called a “brace”. The male duck is known as “drake,” the female as “hen,” and a juvenile duck (chick) is referred to as “duckling.”
Domestic ducks live, on average, 8 – 12 years.
The Dunlin, Calidris or Erolia alpina, is a small wader. It is a circumpolar breeder in Arctic or subarctic regions. Birds that breed in northern Europe and Asia are long-distance migrants, wintering south to Africa and southeast Asia. Birds that breed in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic migrate short distances to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America.
They average 10 – 11 inches (26 – 27.5 cm) in length.
The head is dull slate-blue; the lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) area is red. They have black ear-coverts, edged around with whitish feathers. The chin feathers are edged with dull pink. The back and wings are dark brown. Each feather has pale edging. The breast and abdomen are brown with dull pink or bluish edging. The under wing-coverts are violet-blue. Their tail is dark blue; the outer feathers have a red base.
The bill is blackish and horn-colored on the sides. They have a grey eye-ring. Their irises are brown and the feet grey.
Young birds have a greenish-blue head and dark irises.
Some rare mutations have been developed in captivity, including the below featured Lutino Dusky Pionus. The photos of this mutation on this page are courtesy of Lien Luu – a breeder in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Website: http://www.birdsny.com/